Most of us are familiar with the feeling of looking forward to longer days, warmer temperatures and sunshine after a winter that feels like it has lasted for six months.
Making the transition from winter into spring therefore doesn’t seem like too much of a pain, we throw open the windows, do a spring clean and are rewarded with fresh air, sunshine and longer days. Making the transition from summer to autumn, however, can be a little trickier.
Summer in this country unfortunately doesn’t generally mean three months of glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures and we often have to “make the most” of the days that do deliver this kind of weather. This makes summer feel all the more precious and the thought of parting from it harder.
Just as we get used to the long days, they slowly get shorter again. When the school holidays end, we know we’re moving towards autumn and days of glorious sunshine remaining might be limited.
Pleasure in the process
What might, at first glance, seem like a depressing prospect, can and should be turned into something positive. Especially where our homes are concerned, making the transition from summer into autumn a joyful experience will help the overall feeling of wellbeing and calmness.
It’s all down to the small touches and creating an environment that will make us happy to go back to spending more time indoors than outdoors. The Danes have a wonderful word for this kind of homeliness, cozyness, and general good feeling: hygge. There’s no translation for it into English, but it describes a feeling of warmth and friendliness in our homes and that is the thing that will make the transformation easier.
As I mentioned, it’s all about small touches and flowers are of course a big part of those. You can really give your home a late summer/early autumn vibe just by choosing the “right” kind of flowers. Blooms in vivid and dark colours, thick green foliage, even leftover sprigs with blackberries, any of these kind of things will give your home life whilst adding a nod to the new season.
You can also use food items like fruits to decorate: a large bowl filled with pears, apples, berries and even nuts not only looks great and seasonal, but is also practical if you have a permanently hungry teenager in the house – in which case you might just have to update this kind of decoration on a regular basis.
In with the new
Next of course come the various soft furnishings in our home. Things like cushions and throws can easily be changed over with the seasons. Throw out (no, not literally, I mean stash away) any pastels and very summery colours and bring in warmer jewel tones like mustard, burgundy and emerald. Cotton and linen can be changed to woven wools and soft velvets.
Even if it’s not yet overly dark and grim outside, you can never be too early when it comes to candles. Since we’re talking early autumn, why not bring some of the outdoor lanterns indoors? That way you will have the best of both worlds: a little bit of a leftover summer feel combined with early autumn warmth and light. Alternatively, a collection of candles on a tray also makes for a lovely display.
You can also bring in a little warmth to your floor: partly cover your bare (so nice during the summer months) floor boards with some fluffy rugs in jewel colours. You could even go as far as layering two or three rugs for a really interesting look.
Don’t forget the everyday. Just as nature changes with the seasons, so do we. We obviously need to consider our wardrobe if we’re not to freeze, so washing all our summer clothes (which feel already a little too “summery”) and packing them away until next year is a good way to say goodbye to the hot season.
Our food and how we cook also changes and chances are you will start to slowly gravitate towards more comforting dishes: bring those in slowly (I’m not suggesting jumping from grilled chicken with salad to thick stew within a couple of days) along with lots of fresh vegetables. Consider the scent of your home: warmer fragrances like sandalwood can now replace the very fresh ones to make your home feel welcoming and warm.
I hope all these tips will help you to slowly say goodbye to summer. It might not always be easy for everybody, but if nothing else helps, just picture yourself on the sofa with a pair of woolly socks, wrapped in a cosy blanket, drinking hot chocolate and reading your favourite book. That certainly has to be one of the big pleasures of autumn, right?
Carole Poirot is a freelance photographer and stylist who lives and works in London. Originally from France, she has also lived in Germany and uses these influences to help inform her own style and advice. Her ideas are also published on her blog at mademoisellepoirot.com.